Former Israeli PM Barak is challenging Netanyahu

By Ruth Eglash | Washington Post

JERUSALEM – Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced Wednesday that he was returning to the political ring and would seek to topple the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu as voters prepare for a redo of elections this spring that left the country’s politics deadlocked.

A former military chief of staff, Barak is the only politician who has ever defeated Netanyahu at the polls. Barak, 77, is also the last prime minister to emerge from the left-wing bloc, and his defeat in 2001 led to a succession of right-wing leaders.

In announcing his political return, Barak criticized Netanyahu for leading Israel into “the darkest days we have known,” with Israeli democracy and its judiciary facing unrelenting attacks and racism rampant.

Netanyahu’s camp responded with a terse statement, saying, “We don’t interfere in how the left wing divides its votes.”

Israelis are scheduled to go back to the polls on Sept. 17, less than six months after elections gave Netanyahu and his right-wing bloc a narrow victory but left them unable to form a new government. After Netanyahu’s failure to attain a 61-seat majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, he diverged from political custom last month, opting to dissolve the legislature and take the country to another round of elections.

But Netanyahu now seems eager to undo the election redo he initiated a month ago. He said in a statement Wednesday that he is considering an initiative by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, No. 2 in his Likud party, to draw back from the second election.

Legally and politically, it is unclear whether such a move is possible. But Edelstein said the apparent U-turn was prompted by a growing number of parliamentarians from various political factions who have said the decision to hold another election so soon after the last was a “foolish move.”

“The …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Letter: Can Iran, US technical teams meet peacefully, review data?

Can Iran, US technical teams
meet peacefully, review data?

Re: “Officials say Trump OK’d Iran strike, pulled back” (Page A1, June 21):

Iran has claimed that the drone was flying on their territory. The United States claims that it was flying on international waters.

President Trump has stated that the U.S. technical people have confirmed that the drone was flying over international waters. Iran has supplied the coordinates of where the strike occurred, and they show that those coordinates are in Iran’s territory.

Doesn’t common sense instruct that the technical teams from both countries should get together peacefully and go over the technical basis for each claim, compare methods and equipment, and arrive at a friendly conclusion to discover where actually the strike occurred?

Related Articles

Letter: Reason to fear a major fire event from illegal fireworks in San Jose

Letter: Reparations for slavery and its 150-year aftermath overdue

Letter: Only wide usage of face scans will perfect their use

Letter: Many very simple ways to make up for sins of slavery

Letter: Could homeowners stay if mortgages rose as rents do?

I read the news, and both liberal and conservative media have surprisingly not pursued this most important suggestion to my knowledge.

Sushil Patel
San Jose

Submit your letter to the editor via this form
Read more Letters to the Editor

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Trump’s protocol chief suspended ahead of G-20: ‘Never seen someone so rude’


By Michelle Kosinski, CNN

(CNN) — President Donald Trump’s protocol chief, Sean Lawler, has been suspended indefinitely just ahead of the G-20 meeting in Japan pending the outcome of a State Department investigation into his conduct, according to multiple State Department officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Two State officials told CNN that Lawler was called into the office of the deputy secretary on Monday afternoon and told he needed to leave due to the status of the investigation.

On the same afternoon, senior staff in the protocol office met with State Department management and were told that Lawler had to leave over personnel issues, according to the officials.

They were also told in this meeting that their new acting chief of protocol is Mary-Kate Fisher, and her acting deputy is Cathy Fenton, who served as social secretary in the George W. Bush White House and also handled social affairs‎ for Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush.

One of the State Department officials described what multiple others told CNN was a pattern of behavior on Lawler’s part. “In my decade of government service, I have never seen someone so unprofessional, abrasive and rude as him,” the official said. “His bad behavior was terrible, and it was obvious. I personally saw it myself, as did a good chunk of the office.

“For example, in a recent meeting — a very routine planning meeting — when he asked a question, if he didn’t like the answer, he would immediately raise his voice, get angry, start using profanity, and use the ‘F word.’

“Then, a moment later, like the flip of a switch, he’d calm himself down and it would be like nothing happened. This has happened before. Many times. And everyone would talk about it after. Their reaction was, ‘What the hell just happened? Did he just start screaming …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Thiessen: Trump’s Iran policy is nothing like Obama’s failure in Syria

WASHINGTON — After President Trump called off a military strike on Iran for its downing of a U.S. military drone, some compared his decision to President Barack Obama’s shameful failure not to enforce his “red line” in Syria. Sorry, the two situations are completely different. Trump was right to show restraint, and his Iran policy is working.

Unlike the Syrian regime, which used chemical weapons on civilians in direct defiance of Obama’s threat to use military force, the Iranian regime did not cross any “red line” drawn by the Trump administration. The Post reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a private warning to Iranian leaders in May “that any attack by Tehran or its proxies resulting in the death of even one American service member will generate a military counterattack.” Pompeo has publicly said such a strike “would likely take place in Iran itself” and has even held up Obama’s failure to strike Syria, and Trump’s subsequent decision to do so, as evidence that Trump would not hesitate to act. “You saw the strong action he took when [Bashar al-] Assad used chemical weapons, right?” Pompeo said.

Yes, Iran’s leaders did see. It is no mere coincidence that they have been careful not to cross Trump’s red line. They attacked Japanese and Norwegian oil tankers, not American ones. They shot down an unmanned U.S. drone, not a manned American P-8 that was reportedly flying in the area. (Trump called that “a very wise decision.”)

Trump would have been well within his rights to strike Iran in response to these acts of war. But Trump knows he does not have to prove willingness to use force, which he has demonstrated twice in Syria. He also knows Iranian leaders are lashing out because they are buckling under the weight of the unprecedented sanctions …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


1 2 3 4 5 82